CIJ calls for equal media access to parliament May 18 sitting


KUALA LUMPUR — The Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) is pushing the government to allow equal media access to all eligible media practitioners on May 18 parliament sitting.

Based on a press statement, CIJ expressed its unhappiness with the media report that state-owned media RTM, Bernama, and Parliament media is allowed at the moment to cover the parliament sitting.

The Edge Markets portal reported that “Government media such as Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM), Malaysian National News Agency (BERNAMA), and Parliament media would be allowed while other media can appeal to the Dewan Rakyat Speaker.”

“The role of the State is to promote democracy, allow dissenting voices to be heard and accessed.

“The right to know, impart information and ideas of all kinds are protected under our Federal Constitution as well as international legal guarantees of the rights to freedom of expression and speech. “ CIJ executive director Wathshlah G. Naidu said.

She suggested that “This restriction of access is not just targeted at the media but also infringes on the rights of citizens to be fully informed of the Parliament proceedings and to hold our elected representatives to account.

“Democracy means that elected representatives will come under extensive public scrutiny.”

“While it is noted that there will be live telecast of the proceedings, denying media access to the Members of Parliament, both inside and outside the chambers, will mean that the opportunities to talk to and verify the information directly with the politicians will be denied too.”

She hoped the parliament will consider “all media granted fair and equal opportunity access to the Parliament sitting.”

“The State must work with the media and provide a safe and enabling environment for the media to access the Parliament sitting on 18, including by ensuring that all necessary sanitisation and social distancing measures are adopted.“